Complex Systems

Dr. Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, is an internationally renowned environmental health expert.  She is the Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health.  In addition to her academic appointments, Dr. Davis has held multiple advisory roles innational and international agencies, including the World Health Organization.

Lecture 1
"The Secret History of the War on Cancer"
Date:  September 11, 2008
Time:  7:00 PM
Where:  Wendy Williamson Auditorium 

Lecture 2
"Work, Life and Cancer: Staying Alive by Keeping Informed"
Date:  September 12, 2008
Time:   12 noon
Where:  Providence Cancer Center's Media Center, 3851 Piper Street, 2nd Floor

Dr. Ron Eglash holds a B.S. in Cybernetics, an M.S. in Systems Engineering, and PhD in History of Consciousness, all from the University of California.  A Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship enabled his field research on African ethnomathematics, which was published by Rutgers University Press in 1999 as African Fractals: modern computing and indigenous design.  He is now an associate professor of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he teaches a studio class on the design of educational technologies as well as graduate seminars in social studies of science and technology.  Recent essay titles include ""Culturally Situated Design Tools: Ethnocomputing from Field Site to Classroom" (American Anthropologist), and  "Race, Sex and Nerds: from Black Geeks to Asian-American Hipsters" (Social Text).

Lecture 1
"Complexity in Indigenous Knowledge"
Abstract: Indigenous knowledge is often associated with simple tasks—counting to 100 or making a box—but such stereotypes ignore the rich conceptual and material structures that have resulted from the co-evolution of native cultures and their environment. African fractals, Native American cybernetics, and indigenous nanotechnology are just some of the complex hybrids that emerge when we open up the space for more sophisticated models.

September 18, 2008
7:00 PM
UAA's Wendy Williamson Auditorium 

Lecture 2
"Self Organization in Science and Society"
Abstract: Self-organization has become an increasingly important phenomenon in both the natural sciences and engineering. Self-assembly of carbon "bucky balls" are critical to nanotechnology; self-organizing swarms of insects are modeled in biology and robotics, and so on. But recursive loops in which things govern themselves are also foundational to society: democracy is the people governing the people; social networks in both physical life and internet domains arise by self-assembly, and some decentralized indigenous societies build self-similar architecture. Can self-organization lead us to a more just and sustainable future?

September 19, 2008
12 noon
UAA/APU Consortium Library Rm 307

September 29, 2008
Dr. Michael Schlesinger
UAA Wendy Williamson Auditorium, 7:30 PM

Dr. Michael Schlesinger is a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and director of the Climate Research Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. (meteorology) in 1976 from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Michael Schlesinger is an expert in the modeling, simulation and analysis of climate and climate change, with interests in simulating and understanding the climates of the geologic past and possible future climates resulting from increased concentrations of greenhouse gases and anthropogenic aerosols.

He has been instrumental in developing a range of simple and complex climate models, which have been used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Energy Modeling Forum. His research currently focuses on: (1) simulating and understanding the effects on climate of a human-induced melting of the Greenland ice sheet; (2) simulating and understanding the coupled climate-chemistry system, including the influences of the sun - both irradiance and energetic electron precipitation - and volcanoes; (3) understanding and reducing the uncertainty in the estimation of climate sensitivity and climate feedbacks; and (4) performing integrative assessment of climate change, including further development of the robust adaptive decision strategy for mitigating and adapting to human-induced climate change.

He is known for his work on oscillations in the global climate system, on estimating the climate sensitivity, and on seasonal climate change.

Following is a list of events that were held earlier this year.

June 16-19, 2008
Complex Systems Summer School--be prepared for a week of stimulating and engaging dialogue!
Directed by Dr. John Pepper, University of Arizona and Santa Fe Institute. Instructors include Dr. Chris Wood (Vice President, Santa Fe Institute), Dr. Luís Bettencourt (Los Alamos National Laboratory and Santa Fe Institute), Dr. William Tracy (most recently of UCLA and now with Rensselaer Polytechnic University), and Dr. Carlo Maley (Wistar Institute).

Mon June 16:
Lecture 1: An Introduction: Overview of Complex Systems Science to be immediately followed by (What) Does the Brain Compute? (Chris Wood)
Lecture 2: Introduction to Agent-based Modeling and Simulation (John Pepper)

Tue June 17:
Lecture 1: Scaling in Complex Systems (Luis Bettencourt)
Lecture 2: Complexity in the Social Sciences (Will Tracy)

Wed June 18:
Lecture 1: Scaling, Cities, and Innovation (Luis Bettencourt)
Lecture 2: Complexity in Strategic Management; the Case of Firm Learning (Will Tracy)

Thur June 19:
Lecture 1: Complex Systems Approaches to Emerging Infectious Diseases (Luis Bettencourt)
Lecture 2: Cancer as a complex system (Carlo Maley)

May 2, 2008

Dr. Miki Ii
UAA's Department of Biological Sciences
"DNA Repair Network--a novel model of recombinational repair involving RNase H2"
UAA/APU Consortium Library 307, 12 noon
Abstract: As background, DNA repair is essential to maintain genome stability which is indispensable to avoiding cancer formation and slowing down aging. DNA is continually damaged and the accumulation of DNA damage results in DNA double-strand breaks. If the DNA double-strand break remains, it causes chromosome loss followed by cell death. If it is repaired incorrectly, accumulation of mutations causes chromosomal rearrangements which lead to to cancer formation and/or accelerated aging. Miki's lab is especially focused on the network of DNA repair pathways involving homologous recombination and downstream enzymes.

April 29, 2008
Professor Anatoly Zolotukhin
Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas
"Environmental Challenges in Arctic Oil and Gas Development"
UAA's Wendy Williamson Auditorium, 7:00 PM
Abstract: Professor Anatoly Zolotukhin is an expert in field development planning project evaluation and enhanced oil recovery methods and will bring that expertise to the discussion of environmental challenges. In addition to his current position as Deputy Rector of International Affairs at Russian State Gubkin University, Professor Zolotukhin worked as Technical Director at Statoil Russia in Moscow (until February this year), a project Manager for Statoil INT E&P, an independent petroleum reservoir and production engineering consultant, a senior reservoir engineer for Shell, and a Professor of Petroleum Engineering. 

He is a Foreign member of the Russian Acadamy of Natural Sciences, a Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Stavanger University (Stavanger, Norway) and Doctor Honoris Causa, Murnask Sate Technical University (Murmansk, Russia). He is co-editor of the book Basics of Offshore Petroleum Engineering and Development of Marine Facilities in the Arctic. «Oil and Gas» Publ. Co, Moscow, 2000 (Russian edition) for which he was awarded (together with co-editors) the Gubkin Prize, the highest award in the Russian Petroleum Industry, in 2002. 

April 25, 2008
Dr. Don Spalinger
UAA's Department of Biological Sciences
"Lean Fare for Alaskan Moose"
UAA/APU Consortium Library 307, 12 noon
Abstract: Boreal Ecosystems are known to be relatively nitrogen (N) deficient, and this poses important constraints on plant productivity. However, little is known regarding whether this lack of N availability to plants translates to a similar problem for other organisms, such as moose. Our recent work suggests that moose, indeed, face some difficult problems in meeting protein requirements, at least in some geographic areas. The major food plants of moose appear to exacerbate this difficulty by protecting themselves with tannins, an important class of compounds that interfere with protein digestion. Our work suggests that the dynamics of N and tannin composition in plants are complex and perhaps governed in large part by climate. This could have important implications for the welfare of herbivore communities as northern climates change.

April 18, 2008
Ms. Amy Caron
Visiting Artist, Utah
"Waves of Mu"
UAA/APU Consortium Library 307, 12 noon
Abstract: Amy Caron is a visiting artist from Utah who has discussed physchology and mirror neurons at length with prominent neurology faculty at the University of Parma Italy (Vittorio Gallese) and at the California San Diego's Center for Brain and Cognition (Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran and Dr. Lindsay Oberman). Her sculptural work is entitled "Waves of Mu," is named after the electromagnetic oscillations that reflect mirror neuron activity in the brain and is designed to help individuals better understand brains and our behavior.

April 11, 2008
Dr. Songho Ha
UAA's Department of History
"U.S. Images in China, 1945 to the Present: A Few Lessons"
UAA/APU Consortium Library 307, 12 noon
Abstract: The primary question in this presentation is whether U.S. images in China have been positive or negative. The secondary research question examines what caused the changes in American images in China. To answer these questions, Dr. Ha explores the political, military, economic, social, and cultural points of contact between the United States and China from 1945 to the present.

March 21, 2008
Dr. Alex Hills
Alex Hills Associates
Distinguished Service Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
"Geeks without Borders"
UAA/APU Consortium Library Room 307, 12 noon
Abstract: Dr. Hills will describe "Geeks Without Borders," a program at Carnegie Mellon that sends students to work on information and communication technology (ICT) projects around the world, helping non-profit organizations and third world government agencies develop computer and telecommunication systems. Students work on projects from Chile to Palau and from the Cook Islands to Sri Lanka.